Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Little Friendly Scar Tissue

Nearly two weeks since my last blog post here at One Word. I think that is a record dry spell. Time has not been my friend as of late. Hope a few of you are still hanging around.

So anyway a friend of mine recently brought me a t-shirt back from the Virgin Islands. A piratey shirt from a place called Blackbeard's Castle. The shirt reads ... SCARS ARE TATTOOS WITH BETTER STORIES

I wore said shirt to a meet-up dinner with a group of fellow writers last night.

I'm quite lucky to live in a community where there are so many talented and successful writers.

I enjoyed chatting with Anita Howard. You may not know Anita yet, but you soon will. Anita is fabulously talented. Check out her blog here. She recently landed representation with Jenny Bent and trust me when I say she has a stupendous voice. Her latest endeavor is a literary YA Fantasy titled, Splintered. Here is the trailer.

I also got to chat with Kimberly Willis Holt, author of My Louisiana Sky, When Zachary Beaver Came To Town (Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, as well as School Library Journal's Best Book of the Year). And the Piper Reed series.

 Then there were those that write adult fiction ...

Linda Castillo whose novel Breaking Silence, the third in a series starring Amish Country Police Chief Kate Burkholder is now available  for pre-order and is already getting rave reviews

“In addition to creating exceptionally well drawn characters and crafting a gripping plot that takes some shocking turns to a heart-pounding conclusion, Castillo probes with keen sensitivity the emotional toll taken by police work. The third in this series of thrillers (after Sworn to Silence, 2009, and Pray for Silence, 2010) is another winner.”Booklist

Linda organized our dinner and is she so pleasant to chat with it's almost hard to imagine she writes with such cutting edge suspense. 

Friend, mentor and tormentor Deborah Elliott-Upton was there eating a salad right beside me. Debbie is a helluva mystery writer with an unnatural hangup for Johnny Depp. Besides having a slew of short story creds to her name she blogs every Thursday over at Criminal Brief

And though I didn't get to speak with her as long as I would have liked RWA Hall of Famer Jodi Thomas was just down the table.   

So what the heck does this have to do with my t-shirt. Well on the way home, I was thinking about writing. (That's the great benefit of hanging around other writers. They inspire me to write.) And I realized how true the shirt's saying is in relation to writing fiction.

It is the scars. The damage inflicted in the past that shapes characters. Makes them who they are.  And like a scar how, when and what caused the damage is rarely revealed right away. It leaves the reader guessing, wondering.

Also tattoos are things we plan for. Things we don't mind showing. They can be interesting as can descriptions we writers directly parcel out to our readers but its those unexpected things that are slow or reluctant to reveal themselves that really capture a reader.

I have no tattoos, though I've long said I'll get one to celebrate and honor the first novel I sell. I do have a few scars however and yes, every one of them has a story.



Debra She Who Seeks said...

I bet you've got at least one scar from an ugly vegetable incident, don't you?

Melissa Amateis said...

Hubby has three tattoos. I've never wanted one. But he does have a story for each one.

You're very lucky to have a writers' group comprised of ublished authors. Lots of wisdom to be gleaned!

Anita Grace Howard said...

Excellent post, Travis my lettuce hating friend. And thanks so much for the props! We really do have incredible talent here in the TX panhandle, no? (Yourself on the high end of that totem pole).

I noticed your shirt and danged if I forgot to comment on it. Sigh. Oh well. I could never have put it as eloquently or beautifully as you just did. :) Nicely done.

BTW, I left a comment on Jenny's blog you might want to tend to. HEH. ;)

It was so great seeing you last night!

Old Kitty said...

The one tattoo I have wasn't planned and has a heck of a story behind it! LOL!!!

Anyway!! Yay for these writerly scars!! They are truly earned! Take care

Monnik said...

That's a great way of thinking about it, Travis. Scars do tell a story about a person, and those stories that make up the past are what make characters real and believable.

I'm guessing you didn't eat a salad at dinner? Unless it was ham salad or something.

Jenn Jilks said...

Great post, Travis! I'm off to the library tomorrow to get some of these.

Keep eating meat!

We have one deer who has a dislocation or sprain. I'd love to put her out of her misery, but she is surviving.
Cut the grass today. Spring is springing forward.

DM said...

Yup, you still got readers. And I totally have friend-envy!

Good to see ya bloggin', my friend. It's so easy to let time get the best of you!

Vesper said...

It's great to get together with all these talented people with the same interests as you.
And, yes, what you're saying about scars, and tattoos, and characters... something to think about...

"Splintered" certainly has an intriguing trailer. Thank you for sharing it.

Cloudia said...

Scars, not medals,
that's what they look for in heaven.

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral


Charles Gramlich said...

Always great to hang out with writers, man. They are a fun crowd. At least to me.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Still here.

I need a t-shirt like that. Lord knows I have enough scars to make it relevant. LOL

Eric said...

I've got a couple tats and plenty of scars. And yes, they all have stories. I'm quite envious of you though, getting together with all those writers. That must have been too much fun.

Barrie said...

I would've loved to have been on the fly on the wall at that dinner! Or ever just a fellow guest. :) What a very fun group!!!

Mary Witzl said...

I'd never thought about the difference between tattoos and scars, but you're right: you don't plan scars; they're more adventure-induced. The scars I've got come from half a dozen different countries. I hope I'll be able to bore my grandchildren with them someday.

andrea frazer said...

Nice post as usual. I just love that you keep on writing and writing and hang out with writers to inspire them and be inspired. I soooo need a schedule. I will come back for some more butt kicks!

Mr. Shife said...

I got two tattoos, and both of them have memorable stories. However, I also have numerous scars and they come with some good stories as well. Plus I heard chicks dig them.

David Cranmer said...

Nothing beats hanging with writers.